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Showing posts from 2022

Carbon Offsetting/Credits - The Murky Con of Net Zero Carbon Emissions

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier Following on from my previous post,  Regardless of Whether You Believe in Climate Change You Should at Least Believe in Better Environmental Practices , I made a passing reference to the con that is carbon offsetting. In simple terms, it allows companies to continue to produce carbon emissions so long as they fund environmentally 'friendly' initiatives elsewhere. The whole concept has matured into the Carbon Credit/Offset scheme where companies can literally buy and sell carbon credits so they can claim 'reduced carbon emissions' or even 'net zero emissions' without actually reducing emissions at all. Ever since I first heard of the concept of carbon offsetting and how it worked, I've said it was a scam. You don't need to do any research at all to know it is.  To make an analogy, imagine if every week I empty my household trash onto your front lawn. It's a dick move. You wouldn't like it, and you'd expect me to cle

Regardless of Whether You Believe in Climate Change You Should at Least Believe in Better Environmental Practices

Cow burps contribute to greenhouse gases. A beef cow flying through the clouds wearing an open astronaut's helmet. photorealistic. wide angle lens. Dall.e + David Arandle The Australian Government has been in the process of passing some bill that contributes towards meeting some goals on Climate Change that we probably agreed to at least two decades ago at a United Nations Meeting on the issue. I guess? I kind of researched it a little recently.  It's one of those issues I've kind of followed but generally don't like to argue because climate change deniers are some of the most negative and obnoxious people you'll ever come across.  These days climate change is closely linked to energy production and how we generate power because fossil fuel power plants are said to be big emitters of Carbon Dioxide, which contributes to global warming (apparently). Most of Australia's power plants are coal plants, with a small percentage leaning towards renewables like solar and

TV Series Review: The Sandman (2022 Netflix) *No Spoilers*

I've heard from multiple sources, who read comics, that The Sandman series of comics (or maybe graphic novel?) written by Neil Gaiman is both influential and considered classics. As I'm not a comic book reader but someone who appreciates films and TV shows based upon characters and stories from comics, I decided to check the Netflix series, The Sandman , out. Going in, I knew this show wasn't really my thing. It's kind of fantasy/horror (not much horror but definitely leaning that way). I like fantasy and anything that explores dreams as something other than fleeting visions, but it all looked too serious and gothic emo for me. Season one could easily be broken into two halves. In the first half Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the personification of dreams, is captured by a mortal wizard, spending decades in captivity before escaping to recover his 'tools' and reclaim his realm. In the second half Morpheus finds himself at a loss and looking for purpose. To be honest

Score a Goal in Five Steps Tracker - Plan and Track Any Goal Using a Simple, Two Page, Digital/ Printable Work Sheet or 24 Page Journal

Score a Goal in Five Steps Tracker. Digital or Printable Worksheet. Completing any complex task or project can be made simple by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable steps. If you're the kind of person who does this, and likes to see more measurable results than just ticking off tasks on a to do list, then my Score a Goal in Five Steps Tracker may be for you. This Five Step Tracker is a two page digital or printable worksheet that you can fill in anytime you have a complex task that you want to track your progress on. If you find the format useful there's also a 24 page, 5"x8" journal version so you can track multiple goals. To use the Five Step Tracker, write your Goal/Project in the top box of the first page. Next break this down into five smaller steps and write those into the boxes provided. If any of the five steps are still quite complex tasks on their own then there is room to break each step down into up to five additional sub steps. Write these in

TV Show Review: Paper Girls (2022 - Amazon Prime)

If ever there was a show that was not what I was expecting, based on the trailer, it's Paper Girls . The trailer suggests the basic plot is four pre-teen paper delivery girls from 1988 somehow, find themselves transported into the future (2019), and must find their way back with the help of at least one of their adult selves. It's a cool idea, and the time travel aspect piqued my interest enough to see what a show, seemingly targeted at young adult girls, was all about. While the first episode is somewhat purposefully all over the place, raising more questions with no answers in sight, once you get to the second episode... wow. This is not your basic, we gotta get back to our time , time travel plot. If you're a fan of Science-fiction, time travel stories, or just really great character development, this show has all three in spades. It's by no means basic, or dumbed down for younger viewers. While it does present like a show for tweens, there's plenty here for olde

NASA Goes Back to the Moon - Sending More Weird Stuff Into Space Onboard the Artemis I Spacecraft

A suited manikin (named Commander Moonikin Campos during a public contest) will occupy the commander’s seat inside the Orion capsule  to provide data on what crew members may experience in flight. All going to plan, by the time this blog is posted, NASA's Artemis I spacecraft will be on its way to the moon. Scheduled to launch August 29th, the unmanned spacecraft will circle around the moon over 42 days before returning to Earth. The trip is a 'proof of concept' mission that will eventually lead to an astronaut training facility established on the moon, with a long term view of sending people to Mars. The Moon's No#1 Tourist Attraction: The Big Cheese ! As excited as I am for NASA once again setting its sights on manned missions to the moon, I'm equally delighted to hear they're still in the business of  sending weird stuff into space  (I'm still hopeful that one day they'll build a 'big cheese' on the moon). Mashable's  Elisha Sauers wrote

Speaking to Dead People with Artificial Intelligence (AI) - StoryFile Life Uses AI to Create Conversations with Real People Living or Passed

StoryFile Life - Have a conversation with William Shatner. Imagine future generations being able to have a conversation with you long after you've passed away. That's the basic premise of StoryFile Life a technology service using artificial intelligence to generate a conversational video experience with real people, even after they've passed away. In many ways their service is science fiction becoming science fact. Picture that scene in Superman the Movie (1978) where Kal-El (a.k.a. Superman) is inside the Fortress of Solitude, conversing with his long deceased father, Jor-El.  Superman talks with Jor-El in the Fortress of Solitude. Superman The Movie (1978) He's actually speaking to a recording of his real father controlled by some kind of AI so that they can interact as if his father was still alive and in the room. In essence that's what StoryFile Life is. The subject, while they are still alive, record themselves answering questions covering a range of topics

Movie Review: The Matrix Resurrections (2021) *Some Minor Spoilers*

I'm am a fan of the Matrix trilogy. Even the second and third movies, which were not as strong as the first but did a lot to expand the world and bring cool, new visuals to the screen. So I was looking forward to a fourth film, since it was announced. Unfortunately I didn't get to see it in theatres thanks to the pandemic, and it has taken too long for it to reach a streaming service that I'm subscribed to, so I finally decided to rent it through Amazon Prime. I knew going in that The Matrix Resurrections had not been well received and kind of faded away in theatres. Having now seen the film I'm not really surprised. In theory it sounds like a home run. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss returning as Neo and Trinity, a new, rebooted Matrix reimagined as a video game, and all new cast members who, maybe, could carry the mantle into another trilogy? What it ends up being, feels like a checklist of what people would expect to see in a Matrix movie, loosely tied together wi

Book Review: Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau - From Idea to Income in 27 Days. Build a Side Business and Make Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job

Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau Chris Guillebeau is probably one of the most unassuming, down to Earth entrepreneurs, authors in the side hustle space. Somehow he manages to give practical advice through his books and Side Hustle School podcast without actually looking like he's trying to sell anything. So how is it I'm now reviewing a fourth book of his that I purchased? He's clearly doing something right. I actually bought Chris' book, Side Hustle , quite some time ago but I've been so busy in my side hustles it's taken me a while to set time aside for reading.  These days if I don't schedule reading time and commit to it each day I just don't read actual books. So that's what I did. Cut down on my YouTube watching at breakfast by 30 minutes so I could read instead of watching videos. Well worth it, without a doubt. If you're like me, aware that you should also set time to work on your business rather than in your business, Chris' book,

Movie Review: Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021) *Spoiler Free*

I'm going to preface this review by saying I am a fan of the original Ghostbusters movie and its sequel, and I did enjoy the all female 2016 attempt at a reboot . I also realize I'm very late to writing a review since I didn't get to see this in theatres and decided to wait for the film to come to streaming (Amazon Prime). Never the less, I feel compelled to write about Ghostbusters: Afterlife  because it really gets a lot of things right, while at the same time it feels like quite a lot of scenes were filmed but didn't make it into the movie. Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a direct sequel to the first movie but set thirty years later (present day basically). Single mother, Callie (Carrie Coon), and her two kids, Phoebe (McKenna Grace) and Trevor (Finn Wolfhard) move to a small, rural town, to deal with her father's estate after he recently passes. However everything isn't as straight forward as it seems. Meanwhile, school teacher, Mr. Grooberson (Paul Rudd), is inv

TV Series Review: Ms Marvel (2022) Disney+ *Spoiler Free*

Right from its very first episode Ms Marvel's TV series was giving off Spider-man vibes in line with Spider-man Homecoming. It shares many of the same parallels. Ms Marvel, Kamala Khanis (Iman Vellani) is in high school. She's not one of the cool kids but she's not completely off the deep end nerd either. She has a really good friend willing to do anything for her and a too cool for school, kind of rival who doesn't really acknowledge her. She has a major crush on Captain Marvel, in the sense that Carol Danvers is her all time favorite superhero, to the point where her room is covered in Captain Marvel posters and she even cos-plays as Captain Marvel for an upcoming Avenger's Convention. Things really start to take a turn when her grandmother sends her a bangle with no real explanation but her mother seems to think it needs to be stored away pretty quickly. Naturally it doesn't stay in storage for long. Ms Marvel the series made a really strong start with its f

Movie Review: Thor Love and Thunder (2022) *Spoiler Free*

Chris Hemsworth's Thor is one of those Marvel characters that has reached the point where you just look forward to seeing him show up anywhere. Generally you know you're going to get something good. Thor Love and Thunder is no exception. It's a good, fun movie. If you like 'funny Thor' you'll have a good time here. I certainly enjoyed the film overall. However, you can probably sense a 'but' is coming, and you're right. First, a quick run down of the plot. Thor is still trying to find his place in the world by tagging along with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Meanwhile someone is going around killing gods and they have Thor in their sights as the next target. Comedy ensues... as Thor comes face to face with his exes in his quest to save the universe... again. So I really like funny Thor and, while this movie does have some pretty serious underlying themes, they didn't really resonate with me, or at least have the impact that maybe they were suppos

Reflecting on 18 Years of Blogging With The Extraordinary Tourist, The Author of TET.Life

It's been quite a while since I just wrote an actual blog about myself. If you're new here, I'm The Extraordinary Tourist or TET for short, a.k.a. David Arandle, the author of this blog. I've been posting articles, almost weekly, since 2004.  When I started this blog digital cameras were just starting to go mainstream, the iPhone didn't yet exist, and mobile tablet computing was an idea that just didn't seem to have legs despite a few tries from various companies not named Apple (Apple didn't invent tablet computing they just solved the issues that plagued the whole concept). YouTube wasn't a thing either. This blog really is a labor of love, since the little money it earns from ad revenue is laughable for a website that's been around for so long. No really, it is laughable. In the last 30 days I've made AU$1.37 from ads. I know of many bloggers who are earning upwards of six figures from their blogs inside a year of starting them. This is becaus

Checking in on Tesla's Optimus Robot - Managing Expectations

Last year Elon Musk announced at the first Tesla AI day the Tesla Bot, which has since been renamed the Tesla Optimus, that is basically a general purpose humanoid robot assistant with human like appearance and proportions. Elon expected they would have a working prototype by the end of 2022. While very little has been released about the project since, in June Elon took to Twitter to announce that they would delay this year's Tesla AI day until September 30 in anticipation of having a working prototype of the robot by that time. Elon Musk announces the Tesla Bot at the 2021 Tesla AI day. When I initially wrote about the Tesla Bot I noted that both Boston Dynamics and Disney Imagineering are developing robot technologies that demonstrate a streamlined, humanoid robot like Optimus is certainly possible. However with precious few details, and the occasional appearance of static, concept manikins of Tesla Optimus bots at places like the Cyber Rodeo Gigafactory Austin, Texas  (see vi

TV Series Review: Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) Disney+ *Spoiler Section*

While I do consider myself a Star Wars fan my fandom is limited to the live action shows and movies. Even though I've watched almost all of The Clone Wars animated series I never really connected with the ongoing stories of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Though I did like the first prequel, The Phantom Menace , the two subsequent prequels I've always found to be difficult watches. Largely because we get too much in the way of Jedi. They no longer feel special or formidable. In fact with so many youngling Jedi, in addition to all the adult Jedi, being a Jedi seems more like a trade that anyone could study. I mention all of this to say, as much as I do like Ewan McGregor, a series or movie about Obi-Wan Kenobi wasn't anything I was hoping to see but it's live action Star Wars so of course I'm going to watch.  Obi-Wan Kenobi is set a few years after the  last prequel, Revenge of the Sith . Obi-Wan, now going by the name Ben, has made something of a despondent l

A.I. Can Now Create Art Based Upon Text Prompts - DALL-E 2 and CrAIyon (Formerly DALL-E Mini)

"a painting of a fox sitting in a field at sunrise in the style of Claude Monet” Image by DALL-E 2, OpenAI.com One thing people have often said is that machines will never replace creative artists because they lack the imagination and emotion required to create anything meaningful. A.I. technology is now good enough to work as writing assistants, including sites like Jasper and Rytr , where you simply tell the A.I. what you want to write about and it'll produce a complete article on that subject. The article may not be perfect but it can sure save you a lot of time. DALL-E 2: Realistic images and art from a description in natural language. With the release of DALL-E 2 there is now an A.I. that can produce realistic (or artistically styled) images based entirely on text prompts in seconds. We're not just talking about collaging a few images together here either. DALL-E 2 can create images where everything looks fairly seamless and purposefully included. Rather than me try

Movie Review: Top Gun Maverick *Spoiler Free*

I must admit I was expecting Top Gun Maverick to lean a lot more on nostalgia. While it has plenty of callbacks to the original movie, it does feel like its own thing with a new story and cast of characters. That said, the events of the first film drive (or is that fly) a big part of the character arcs, as Maverick (Tom Cruise) has to face the death of his wingman, Goose, all over again with Goose's son, Rooster (Miles Teller) (I'm using everyone's call sign because their actual character names aren't spoken out loud enough for me to remember them), who, somewhat surprisingly, isn't holding a grudge for his father's fate. Top Gun Maverick picks up with Maverick no longer in the Top Gun team. Instead he's a test pilot for experimental fighters being developed by the Navy/Airforce/US Government? (I'm not sure because technically Maverick is a Navy fighter pilot - which he says in the film, he flies for the Navy). However he is recalled to the Top Gun team

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